The crown prince of Saudi Arabia surprised the world when he suddenly ordered the arrest of dozens of his fellow princes and officials on corruption charges to derive his reform bill. His statement astounded the Christians about his desire for moderate Islam. The kingdom announced the banishment of several imams from mosques for spreading extremism. The crown prince proclaimed that the ideas of extremists would be shattered.
Imad Shehadeh (President of Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary) encouraged by bin Salman’s declaration and called it a step in the right direction.
About 4 % citizens of Saudi Arabia are Christian but this percentage is officially zero. The conversion from Islam to Christianity means the death sentence. Moreover, Saudi government does not permit to build a single church as per traditional rule. But now the change is expected.
King Salman visited Egypt in April and welcomed Pope Tawadros II. The Pope thanked the king for the welcoming thousands of Egyptian expatriates, many of them are Christians. He spoke of religion as a relationship between man and God.
The days of a religious monopoly in Saudi Arabia are over, No more pushing Islam down every citizen’s throat, says Christian Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab.
Andrea Zaki (President of the Protestant Churches of Egypt) said, “I hope it (reform bill of Saudi Prince) will lead Saudi Arabia and the region to a more open society.” Hrayr Jebejian (Executive Secretary of Bible Society) during UNESCO meetings in Riyadh was amazed to found the young and well educated Saudis having a quite different mentality than previous generations. “This country will gradually open up to the rest of the world,” he said.